To those who haven't heard the news yet: Julie and I, and Loretta, are moving back home sometime at the end of February. Life is just too slow out here in Southern California. We miss the fast-paced celebrity culture of small-town Ohio.
Not really. It's a long story, sure to be misinterpreted by some. I only say that because it's already happened and it's frustrating but what can you do? The short version is this: Julie has come to the conclusion that fulltime ministry in a paid position at a church is not for her anymore. She hasn't lost her faith, nor does she feel she will have any less impact on the Kingdom because of this. Priorities have changed, goals have changed. Some people thrive in the environment of working at a church; other people, like Julie, find their passion gets zapped by it, whether it's because of the politics that go along with the job, or controlling egos, or the time away from family that it frequently demands. This decision is the result of about 3 years of an inner struggle, sometimes outward, trying to weed out what's from God and what is human selfishness and weakness. We both believe we knew the answer before we came out here for this job, but we weren't sure, so we gave fulltime ministry another try anyway. Trying to discern between what you think is a calling from God and what is self-motivated is sometimes extremely hard. Basically we feel that we at least need a break - Julie needs a break - to figure some things out and see what the Almighty has to say about it. At first we thought we made a mistake in moving, but some great things have happened. We've met some awesome people, and we've learned a lot about ourselves and our relationship as a couple. We leave feeling refreshed and optimistic, and our faith has actually been encouraged. It all works out in the end.
But that's not the only thing involved in our decision. My dad's health is also a concern. He's got diabetes, kidney disease, and heart trouble. And he lives alone with his faithful Pug, Buddy (aka The General), which isn't the safest thing, considering how the diabetes has affected his sight and motor skills. So it's hard to stay out here if Julie's job isn't what she wants. Her grandpa died a month after we moved, and it was hard for her to be so far away as he was declining fast. Luckily we flew home in time to see him just before he passed away, but the experience made us realize how important our families are to us.
So back to Ohio we go.